Quilt No.833ML - Margaret Lyons

Margaret Lyons
Owner: 
Margaret Lyons
Location: 
TAS
Maker
Maker: 
Helga Johansen
Made in
AUSTRALIA TAS
Date: 
1941 - 1970
Description: 
Padding for a utilitarian quilt that originally had a wholecloth cover. The padding is up to 3 layers of woollen scraps and pieces of used clothing, including hand knitting. White cotton tacking and overcast stitches hold all layers in place. The backing is a cream wool blanket with woven stripes.
1580 x 1200mm
History: 

The quilt, of which this is the padding and backing, was made by Helga Johansen in Tasmania about 1962 or 1963. It is now owned by her daughter Margaret Lyons.

Story: 

Helga Johansen (1898-1986) was born in Trondheim, Norway and the family came to Australia when she was 2.
Margaret Lyons comments 9.2.2001:
"All my mother's stitching, all her own work. You have to start with a main backing piece, mum used wool, an old thin blanket, I'd say. I believe you can use hessian.
Then they would stitch on to it, I'd say in this case, two layers of fabrics, or could be three, according to the thickness of the thing you're using. She's tacked it in lines about four inches apart. But she's also tacked these pieces, tacked together, where they joined, like a flat stitch. Where they overlap, meet another piece, she's used overcasting. But it's generally tacked in rows four inches apart all in one direction.
[discussing the patches] I would say that consists of an angora mixture skirt or dress, a woollen flannel, that would be a woollen fabric with a nap [light yellow], a soft knitted woollen fabric or similar [speckled wool]. And these are parts of hand knitted garments [pink and black pieces]. Down one end she's got four layers, including the backing.
[about the filling] I'd say any fabric that you think would give warmth. That's a lacy thing, it's got a glittery thing, I think that's part of a stole, don't you. And then she's tacked it all the way around the edge. Here, look, pure wool underwear, that is. Mum used to wear those woollen vests, that was probably a piece of one of her vests. [the blue fabric] I bet that's a bit of synthetic. I don't know what that would have been, very soft, isn't it?.
She told me when you make the cover, you make it like a big pillow case, then you tack it all in place, this way and this way, so it all stays put, and then you machine stitch it. Now, I think she would have started near the edge - four inches in from the edge, and then continue with rows of stitching four inches from that row, each four inches apart. Until you come to the portion in the middle, about 18 inches square or oblong, roughly 18 inches by whatever. You would mark the centre, with pins or anything, mark the centre of the square or rectangle, then you'd draw four petals from those points to make a flower, and then you machine sew over those lines. You could draw them with chalk.
They looked absolutely beautiful on the beds, I remember them, plain as day. She used to make them on the treadle sewing machine. She said it was good as it was easy to manouvre.
Now this material at the time, I'm going back - she would have made these rugs, the ones we had at home when I was little, in the mid 30s - and the fabric she covered them with at the time was called washing satin. One was like a rich red colour, and the other, I would call it royal blue.
She made this one, let me see, I think she made it around 1962 or 1963. I thought she made it for Barbara, for my sister, her baby, born around that time. But she never finished it. She made the stitching very straight."
[Based on interview with Margaret Lyons by Zoe Scott for the National Quilt Register, 12.2.2001]

Margaret Lyons with the quilt padding
Margaret Lyons with the quilt padding
Share

Related Quilts:

Yvonne Hamdorf
Wholecloth pram quilt with a top of pink cotton sateen, and the reverse is a more finely woven, ivory, fabric. All over quilting design as main feature, with stylised hearts, leaves and cross hatching. The padding is cotton batting. 870 x 660 mm.
John Tomkin
Hand stitched, cotton, appliquéd, quilt in a flower pattern on a plain background. Colours are shades of green, apricot and browns. This quilt was known as a 'Bride's Quilt'. Padding is thought to be layers of white fabric raised almost like a wadding. The backing is cotton material. 2470 x 2020 mm.
Sharon Stacy
Wholecloth quilt with white cotton centre, sky blue cotton border and dark blue binding. There are 9 repeat designs of cross stitched flowers and leaves in the centre section. Around the blue border there are 18 cross stitched flowers. Blue on blue and white on white cotton quilting of diagonal lines and curls pattern the quilt. The backing is white cotton and there is a very light padding.
2338 x1981mm
National Gallery of Australia
"This all white quilt has a front face of fine white plain weave cotton. The quilt is lined with brushed cotton twill. The two layers are quilted with white cotton thread across the entire surface with rows of zigzag stitching 16-20mm apart.
The edges of the quilt have been cut to form scallops and the raw edges here are secured with a binding of fabric similar to that used on the front face of the quilt. All work on the quilt appears to be hand sewn." [NGA] The quilt is not padded. 2655 x 2150mm
 Cynthia Mayes
Wholecloth quilt of fine cream homespun embroidered with red and white stranded cotton. It is a cross stitch design of roses pre stamped on the material. The quilting consists of a fern pattern medallion in the centre, straight lines and a fern pattern border. The padding is fine wadding and the backing is white sheeting with a small floral pattern,
2160 x 1650mm
Mare Carter
Patchwork quilt made for a child. All cotton with cotton padding. White blocks have embroidery depicting different nursery rhymes eg Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary ; Old Mother Goose. These blocks are separated by rectangular strips of teal cotton. The quilt is hand stitched and heavily quilted.
1677 x 1271mm